2019 – All-new Ford Focus – A great handling compact family hatchback
The all-new Ford Focus 4th generation is here. It's an improvement on the previous model in all departments, with an upgraded tech package and styling. The all-new Focus is designed on the new C2 platform. This makes the body stiffer and safer to fall in line with the Euro NCAP criteria. It has a longer bonnet and wheelbase, which gives much needed additional legroom to the rear passengers.
The Focus was first launched in 1998 and has continually evolved and improved. This has helped maintain its rank towards the top of the compact family hatchback class. Ford has sold over 2-million units of the Ford Focus, making it one of the most popular cars, year on year in the UK. The Focus mixes class-leading handling and ride control, with comfort and practicality. Making it one of the very best all-round family cars.
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Space, Practicality and Safety
The Ford Focus achieved the top 5-star rating at the Euro NCAP safety tests, carried out in 2018 and 2019, to cement it as a safe family hatchback. The Focus gets a lot of standard safety assists and features, such as two ISOFIX mounting positions, Intelligent Speed Assist, Lane-Keeping Aid with Lane Departure warning, Post-Collision braking, Pre-Collision Assist with Autonomous Emergency braking(AEB) and cyclist/pedestrian detection and multiple airbags.
Ford has optional safety packs available, some of which come as standard on higher-spec models. These include the Driver Assistance Pack with features such as Adaptive Crusie Control, Traffic Sign Recognition, Driver Alert System, Auto High Beam Assist. Not to mention Blind Spot Information System which includes Cross Traffic Alert with Active Braking.
Each Ford Focus is fitted with a Thatcham Category 1 perimeter and volume sensing alarm, along with an engine immobiliser securlock (passive anti-theft system).
The Ford Focus has a reasonable amount of space both inside and in the boot, for a compact family hatchback. In the front, there is ample space for even the tallest of drivers/passengers and plenty of headroom, although the spacious Skoda Octavia is probably slightly roomier. The front seats have a wide range of adjustments, so getting comfortable and finding a good driving position shouldn't be much of a challenge. There is a standard array of storage compartments to be found inside, such as cupholders, door pockets, glovebox and central armrest console. However, the latter two are a little smaller than expected.
Moving into the rear of the Focus and you find a welcome increase in space, compared to the previous models. The is due to the longer wheelbase the new Focus has, which also gives passengers a better view, out of newly designed side windows. The rear of the new Focus is now one of the roomiest in its class. It even beats the Skoda Octavia in this department. There is no problem in fitting six foot+ passengers in the rear, with a good amount of foot space, as well as legroom available. It's more practical than before, especially when trying to fit three passengers in the back. This is due to a lower central tunnel in the footwell, again allowing for extra foot space. Headroom could be better, but it's certainly not bad or uncomfortable. Yet if you opt for the panoramic sunroof, this will reduce the headroom slightly.
Boot space in the Focus is pretty standard, coming in at 443-litre capacity and increasing to 1320-litres with the rear seats folded down. Be aware though; these figures are based on having a smaller space saver spare wheel. If you choose a full-sized spare wheel, this reduces the capacity to 373 litres and 1250 litres with the seats folded away.
Engines, performance and ride
The all-new Ford Focus is available with a range of petrol and diesel engines, offering varying power and performance outputs. There are currently no hybrid or electric versions available in the standard Focus hatchback range. However the petrol engines are hybrid compatible, so there could be one coming soon. All EcoBoost petrol engines come with Cylinder Deactivation Technology, to help reduce fuel consumption and emissions.
There are three petrol engines, each offering various power outputs. These are the 1-litre EcoBoost, the 1.5-litre EcoBoost and the range-topping ST only 2.3-Litre EcoBoost. The 1-litre is available with either 84hp, 99hp or 123hp each mated to a 6-speed manual gearbox. Although, the 123hp version can also be fitted with Ford's eight-speed automatic transmission.
The 1.5-litre Ecoboost has 148hp and 180hp versions, giving that much needed extra power of the 1-litre models. It comes with either a 6-speed manual or 8-speed automatic transmission.
Finally, there's the 2.3-litre EcoBoost, only available in the super-hot ST model. This develops a whopping 276hp and 420Nm and is available as a 6-speed manual. Alternatively, you can choose the new 7-speed automatic transmission.
In the diesel range, there is a 1.5-litre EcoBlue, with either 94hp or 118hp or the 2-litre EcoBlue with either 148hp or 187hp. Each engine can be mated to either a 6-speed manual or 8-speed automatic transmission. Except for, the bottom of the range 94hp or the top of range 187hp models, which are only available with a manual gearbox.
The Ford Focus has always been a car that has handled superbly. Better than the more premium cars in its class and is one of its main trademarks. This all-new Focus is no different and offers one of the best rides of any compact family hatchback. There are various suspension set-ups available, depending on the model/trim level and optional extra chosen. All of which works exceedingly well. There seems to be an unlimited amount of grip, no matter how hard you push the Focus through the corners. This gives you more confidence to be a little braver through the next one. Steering is light, but also tight and responsive and gives you all the feedback you need.
Interior technology and design
Ford has improved the quality and layout of the interior with much of the design resembling the Ford Fiesta. It is definitely a step up from its predecessor, with more soft-touch plastics throughout. However, it is still not entirely up to the level of the VW Golf rival.
There are several different trim levels to choose from, as we have become accustomed to, with Ford starting with the base model 'Style' then 'Zetec', through to the Titanium and the luxury Vignale.
Standard equipment in the Style trim is minimal and includes DAB radio, Bluetooth connectivity and a basic 4.2-inch screen. However, opt for one of the higher trim models, and you get an 8-inch touchscreen with more features. Such as smartphone mirroring with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto combined with the Ford Sync or Sync3 infotainment system. This is good but not as quick in responding as others like the one currently in the VW Golf. For the first time, there is also an optional head-up display (HUD) available, showing sat-nav instructions, speed and traffic signs etc.
Ford has replaced the manual handbrake with an electronic switch across the range. The gearstick has been replaced by a rotary dial gear selector on all automatics. By doing this, Ford has created a crisp and clear centre console, giving a modern and contemporary feel to the cabin.
Overall the new Ford Focus is an improvement on what was already a very successful compact family hatchback. The Focus is arguably the best driving car in its class. It is battling the Volkswagen Golf for the title of best in class. If you love driving, the Ford Focus is a must to take for a test drive.